While they may look similar upon first glance, there are many differences between the Irish Setter vs golden retriever. Both of these dog breeds are extremely popular for a variety of different reasons, but what separates them from one another and what makes them unique?
In this article, we will compare and contrast all of the differences between golden retrievers and Irish Setters so that you can learn to tell them apart. We will also discuss their behavioral differences as well as why these dogs were originally bred in the first place. Let’s get started and learn all about these two dog breeds now!
Comparing Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever
|Irish Setter||Golden Retriever|
|Size||50-70 pounds; 23-27 inches tall||55-75 pounds; 20-24 inches tall|
|Appearance||Beautiful long wavy coat in red or golden brown; long and floppy ears and hair hangs off of their long tail||Shiny and long silky coat in a yellow red, or white shade; floppy ears and luxurious fur|
|Originally Bred For||Hunting dog activities and other sporting dog activities||Gun and hunting dog activities such as waterfowl retrieval|
|Behavior||Rambunctious and sweet with a lot of loyalty to their people; intelligent and trainable, but requires a lot of exercise and grooming||Incredibly friendly and playful; needs an abundance of exercise and sheds frequently|
|Behavior||12-15 years||9-12 years|
Key Differences Between Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever
There are many key differences between Irish Setters and golden retrievers. The average lifespan of the Irish Setter is longer than the lifespan of the average golden retriever. Golden retrievers outweigh Irish Setters by 5 pounds on average, but Irish Setters are taller than golden retrievers. Finally, the Irish Setter is more rambunctious and intelligent compared to the friendly and laid-back golden retriever.
Let’s discuss all of these differences in more detail now.
Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: Size
Both of these dogs are large dog breeds, but there are some vague differences in size between them. For example, golden retrievers weigh more than Irish Setters, but they are shorter in height and stature. This likely means that golden retrievers are not as slender compared to Irish Setters. Let’s go over these figures in more detail now.
The average Irish Setter weighs anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds depending on gender, and the average golden retriever weight is anywhere from 55 to 75 pounds. However, many Irish Setters often reach heights of 23 to 27 inches, while golden retrievers average 20 to 24 inches tall and rarely exceed 2 feet in height.
Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: Appearance
While it may take a moment to determine the differences in physical appearance of the Irish Setter and golden retriever, you can tell a few things right off the bat. For example, golden retrievers honor their namesake and only come in yellow, cream, and red shades, while Irish Setters are notoriously red or rusty brown in appearance.
The ears of the Irish Setter are often longer than the ears of the golden retriever. While both of these dogs have long and silky fur that needs constant maintenance and grooming, the fur of the Irish Setter is longer than the fur of a golden retriever. In fact, an Irish Setter needs constant maintenance and care so that their fur does not mat or clump together, while golden retrievers do not often have this same issue.
Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: Original Reason for Breeding
The original reason for the breeding of Irish Setters and golden retrievers is strikingly similar. Both of these dog breeds are hunting and gun dogs, though the golden retriever has an emphasis on waterfowl retrieval, while Irish Setters utilize their unique and powerful sense of smell to hunt other creatures.
Nowadays, golden retrievers are laid-back and comfortable family companions, while Irish Setters are more often used for hunting, even to this day. Both dog breeds work well as companions for a variety of family units, though they will also both need ample exercise, especially when you consider their hunting dog backgrounds.
Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: Behavior
There are some subtle differences in the behaviors of the Irish Setter versus the behaviors of the golden retriever. While both of these dogs are extremely active and need a lot of exercise left they resort to separation anxiety and destructive activities, the golden retriever is more laid-back than the average Irish Setter.
Both of these dog breeds are also extremely friendly and easygoing around kids and family members, though the Irish Setter is more rambunctious than the golden retriever overall. However, this makes the Irish Setter a hilarious and entertaining dog to have around, while the golden retriever is more likely to take a nap at the end of a hard day.
Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: Lifespan
The final difference between Irish Setters and golden retrievers has to do with their life spans. Irish Setters live longer than golden retrievers on average, especially since recent studies have shown that Golden Retriever lifespan is on the decline. However, both dog breeds are capable of living long and happy lives depending on their level of care in the home.
Irish Setters live an average of 12 to 15 years, while golden retrievers live anywhere from 10 to 12 years. Of course, this ultimately depends on the exercise and dietary routines that these dogs have in their homes, as well as healthy breeding practices.
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